INEC Office in Ibadan Gutted by Fire, Elections Materials Destroyed
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Ibadan, Oyo State, faced a devastating blow on Friday, January 26th, 2024, as a fierce fire engulfed the premises, incinerating crucial electoral materials and casting a pall over the upcoming re-run and bye-elections in the state.
The inferno, which erupted at approximately 10:30 am, rapidly consumed the building, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Among the casualties were sensitive electoral materials vital for the impending elections, including precious ballot papers, voter registration documents, and essential voting equipment. Miraculously, no casualties were reported as authorities swiftly responded to the emergency.
While investigations into the cause of the conflagration are ongoing, Dr. Adeniran Tella, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Oyo State, moved to allay public fears, affirming that the incident would not impede the forthcoming Saki West State Constituency re-run election slated for February 3rd, 2024.
Nevertheless, the obliteration of pivotal election paraphernalia necessitates immediate measures for replacements and logistical reconfigurations, potentially introducing operational hurdles and casting doubts on the integrity of the electoral proceedings.
This catastrophe emerges hot on the heels of a recent explosion that rocked Ibadan, further amplifying apprehensions regarding potential attempts to disrupt the imminent elections. In response, security agencies have been implored to conduct thorough investigations into both incidents and fortify security arrangements to safeguard the sanctity of the electoral process.